Before we get to the good stuff, we want to note that sleep support is only intended for full-term healthy babies. Medical diagnoses or prematurity can greatly impact sleep and change what you can reasonably expect from your little one. Sleep is a highly individual process, and we encourage you to reach out to your pediatric provider or a sleep professional for support as needed.
Infants can start their lives out by sleeping up to 20 hours a day, and as they grow older, their need for sleep changes with them, sometimes in unexpected ways. Baby spends quite a bit of time napping, and a good nap can mean the difference between a happy, cheerful baby and a fretful, fussy one. For many parents, the nap can become less of a routine landmark in Baby‘s day and more of an art form. And even if you and Baby already have your system down, there are always new things to try in search of the perfect nap.
- Be flexible with newborns and yourself! Routines can develop over time, but strict schedules are unlikely to be successful during the newborn period.
- Get into a nap routine Baby can count on. If feeding, napping and bedtime happen at around the same time every day, and if the nap time and bedtime preparation routines stay consistent, Baby will be more likely to fall asleep easily and without fussing, and to get the amount of sleep they need.
- Put Baby down for a nap sometimes before they are asleep. As Baby gets older, it will help them learn how to fall asleep on their own if you put them down into the crib, cot or bassinet for a nap when they are calm and awake.
- Remember to be flexible as time goes on. Baby is changing so frequently, so it only makes sense that what they need for sleep will change as well. If Baby is starting to have trouble sleeping at night, for example, it may be a sign that nap schedules need to be adjusted, either by eliminating a nap, or by making napping happen earlier in the day. Routines are still important, so if you do need to make this kind of adjustment, try changing it slowly, in ten-or-fifteen-minute-a-day increments over the course of several days.
- Nap on an unsafe surface. Naps should follow the same rules as nighttime sleep – including placing Baby on their back in a safe sleeping surface where there is nothing to get tangled in, or which would pose a suffocation risk, like pillows, blankets, soft toys, or a lovey. While there are definitely benefits to sleeping at the same time as Baby, and even in the same room, sleeping in the same bed can be dangerous, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- Mary L. Gavin. “Sleep.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, December 2016. Retrieved October 25 2017. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sleepnewborn.html.
- “The Best Time For Your Baby’s Morning Nap.” sleep.org. National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved October 25 2017. https://sleep.org/articles/best-time-for-your-babys-morning-nap/.